Tuesday, May 5, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1, Episode 13: The Watch


 
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My initial reaction to “The Watch” was ‘meh’. But I’ve changed my mind. All in all, I think it was actually rather good. In this episode we get to know more about Jenny and Ian, understand the constant threat of capture that’s been hanging over Jamie’s head for years, and see Jenny and Claire bonding over childbirth and worry for their husbands. But most importantly, we see Jamie NOT come home. That last point sets up the rest of the series.

By the way, I read the other day that some of “The Watch” came from a companion novella Diana Gabaldon wrote, rather than from the book, which would explain why I don’t remember ever reading some bits. This made the episode feel fresh, new.


THINGS I LIKED IN ‘THE WATCH’:

  1. Jenny. She’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine. And, oh my goodness, that labor lasted for days! I could almost feel each contraction with her. She’s smart, feisty, courageous, and witty. In other words, I want her to be my friend!

  1. The scenes with the Watch. I almost put this in the ‘Not Like” column, but after thinking about it I can better appreciate why we had to see so much of them. They carried with them such a threat of violence it was almost palpable. This is what the Highlanders had to put up with if they wanted any protection against the British. This is what Jenny, Ian, and Jamie have had to put up with all their lives. And this could be a mortal danger to Jamie with the price on his head. I swear I could smell their stench. Kudos to the actors and the make-up and wardrobe people.
 
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  1. Labor, Jenny and Claire scenes. Claire and Jenny are too similar to ever be BFF’s, but the scenes in this episode showed a growing respect for one another. I was thankful that Jamie and Ian were sent off with the Watch so that we could have time watching these two interact and bond. Also, we got some nice backstory about the Fraser family, especially Willie.

  1. I was surprised! Usually I don’t like it when the series writers change things up from the book, but this time I was happy to be surprised with how Jamie got caught by the British. I was waiting for that nasty McNab man to turn him over, and I actually prefer this version.

THE ONE THING I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT THE WATCH:
  1. Jamie and Claire’s last scene together. It was FINE, but not great. Okay, I admit it, I would have liked some more melodrama, maybe more melodramatic, tension-filled music. Claire shows little emotion even though she knows her husband is going off to do a dangerous task—I would have liked seeing some concern in her eyes. Maybe a more emotional farewell. If I had never read the book the only clue I would have had that maybe they wouldn’t see each other for a while was that it went to slow motion as Jamie stepped away from Claire. Arggh.

And finally there’s this. Once again I find myself wondering about the development of Jamie’s character. I still don’t think the viewing audience has gotten so much as a glimpse of the Jamie the readers know from the books. Little has been done to develop the HERO character. The villain has been well developed. The heroine has been adequately developed. But I fear Jamie, AS A HERO has been woefully underdeveloped. There’s a reason why women readers all over the world are in love with Jamie Fraser. I doubt viewers who haven’t read the books are feeling that emotion.

Gird your loins for the upcoming episodes!

Slàinte mhath!





Monday, April 27, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1 Episode 12: Lallybroch


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How much more can we hate Black Jack Randall? Isn’t he the most despicable character ever? Yes, but we may have only scratched the surface of his evil. Shudder.

If this episode felt like we had turned the page into a new chapter of a book, it’s because we have. And because of that transition, this episode felt like we were reorienting ourselves. Jamie and Claire have arrived at his family home, Lallybroch. We are introduced not only to this home, but also to the family he hasn’t seen in years, as he has had a price on his head. And just like with most any family that has been separated for years, the reunion doesn’t go very smoothly…at first. We also learn a little about his role as laird and we see some of his tenants, including the McNab family who will soon become more important. This was an ‘orientation to Lallybroch’ episode.

JENNY!! Jamie’s sister is superbly played by Laura Donnelly. Jenny is just as feisty and irascible as she is in the book. Jenny and Jamie’s prickly relationship has been written beautifully for the series. I’m happy all the way around with Jenny and the occasionally difficult sibling relationship.
 
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Ian. I’m not one to whine about a character not looking like they are supposed to as described in a book, but if I wanted to complain about Ian’s appearance I could. In the books he is tall and painfully thin. But forgetting that, I like the character he is, as it is being acted in this episode. Book Ian is a wise man, calm, kind, and strong. I could see hints of those characteristics in this episode, and hope to see more of them in the future. Ian is a favorite character of mine, and I suspect of many a reader, so it is important to get him right.   

Lallybroch, the house. In the books, this house, and its land, is a character as much as a setting, so I was very anxious to see it—to see if it looked like I saw it in my mind’s eye. Before I say anything, I should say Diana Gabaldon has addressed this very topic, and she gives everything her blessing, so it is really not up to me to say otherwise. But I will. Lallybroch is a house that was supposed to be built in the 18th Century, but this house is obviously a few centuries older. To the casual viewer that probably doesn’t sound important, but I think it is, especially as the book series continues. I can’t say more than that without major spoilers, but let’s just say it should probably have been a more ‘modern’ house. It’s gorgeous though, and I love the look of it, especially Jamie’s and Claire’s room, and the tapestries downstairs. Sumptuous. Perhaps a little too sumptuous??

Now back to Randall for a moment. First, we had the horrifying scene of his attempted rape of Jenny. While all of it was awful, as it should have been, the part where he’s putting his finger that’s covered with Jamie’s blood into her mouth was truly stomach-turning. And very well played by both actors. The tension was palpable.

And then there’s Randall’s role in Brian Fraser’s death. Worse than the scars that Jamie carries on his back is the scar that will always haunt him—his father’s death. It’s hard to read about, but it was so much harder to watch.

It was time for some comic relief by the time Jamie went up to the mill to repair it. Jamie in the icy water, Claire and Jenny acting nonchalant while the British soldiers stop by, forcing Jamie to stay under water far too long. Played with a light hand, it was a fun scene, despite the feeling that there was some dark foreshadowing going on.

We’ve turned the page, and we have a wild ride ahead of us.

Slàinte mhath!





Monday, April 20, 2015

OUTLANDER: Season 1, Episode 11 The Devil's Mark

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[This post comes with all the usual Spoiler Alerts—proceed with caution if you haven’t seen this episode.]

If you can get through some tiresome courtroom scenes, this episode holds many little, special gems and some big emotional moments. This is an episode some of us Outlander readers have been waiting for—for a couple of reasons:

TWO BIG REVELATIONS and ONE GIGANTIC TURNING POINT IN THE STORY

1. First Revelation: Geillis isn’t a witch, she is a time traveler.

The episode opens with Claire and Geillis in the Thieves’ Hole, a lovely little place with wet, slimy walls, rats, and hard jagged rocks to rest upon. Their time in the Hole becomes a bonding opportunity for the falsely accused women. I don’t remember that being quite the case in the book, nor do I remember Geillis being so kind and compassionate. Ever. In any scene. Though she obviously isn’t a witch, she kind of is…in that she has a streak of evil in her. Other than confessing to murdering her husband, she comes across as a lovely person. NO!!

Throughout their time in the hole, Geillis is trying to get Claire to admit to something that Geillis has suspected pretty much since they first met. When Claire, horrified at their prospects, quotes Nathan Hale’s “I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country,” which was said in 1776, Geillis needs no further proof. She knows what Claire is. But I don’t think the audience knew what Geillis was thinking—not the ones who hadn’t read the book, anyway. It was played coolly and ambiguously by Lotte Verbeek.

Though I quickly tired of the trial scenes, I loved Ned Gowan, and cheered when he made his way into the courtroom. Yay, Ned! He tries valiantly, but with a crowd hungry for a witch burning, there is little he can do. In the end the best he can come up with is for Claire to blame Geillis for everything. When the two women are alone, Geillis, knowing her time is short, asks Claire, “WHY are you here?” meaning HERE in Scotland, HERE in this time. Claire, being a little thicker than usual, hasn’t fully caught on to Geillis’ implied meaning, and tells her it was an accident, that she doesn’t think it is possible for her to get back home.  If you were unfamiliar with this story and hadn’t caught on to the fact that Geillis was also a time traveler, you probably did right about now. Geillis, frustrated and despondent, says, “You don’t want to change things. It was all for nothing.” We found out in the hole that Geillis is a Jacobite—she is in that time because she wants to change the political outcome. That someone just landed there by accident is a sad waste in her mind.

Claire refuses to blame Geillis—all that bonding and everything. Just before Claire gets a pre-burning flogging, Geillis tells Claire, “I think it IS possible.” Claire looks confused, then Geillis says, “1968.” Again Claire isn’t as quick on the uptake as she normally is, and still this means nothing to her. Fortunately Jamie arrives in the nick of time to rescue Claire from the burning. Geillis very bravely chooses this opportunity to take the blame, pronounce that she is carrying Satan’s spawn, and clear the way for Claire to get to leave. As she makes the ludicrous statements, she shows her “Devil’s Mark” which Claire recognizes as a small pox vaccine scar. FINALLY Claire realizes that Geillis is a time traveler as she puts together the vaccine with the ‘1968’. She knows Geillis traveled from 1968. And now the audience does too.

2. Second Revelation: Claire reveals to Jamie that she is from the future.

This scene is one of my very favorite from all of the books in this series. And for the most part I was pleased with how it was brought to life.

After rescuing Claire and tending to her injuries from the flogging, Jamie asks her to tell him the truth: is she a witch? He asks because he has seen the mark on Claire’s arm, the same kind that Geillis said was the Devil’s Mark. She explains that she isn’t, but that after he hears what she has to say he may wonder about that. She tells him what the mark is, how she can never catch small pox because of it, that she knew about Randall and when he will die, about the doomed Jacobite cause, etc. “I am from the future…I was born in 1918.” Jamie looks a little stunned. He tells her he believes her because he trusts her, but that he does not yet understand what she’s said. She goes on to tell him everything—about how she was a combat nurse and the war all the way to how she came through the stones. Jamie is nicely devastated about his actions after she tried to run away, now that he knows WHY she did it. Loving, tender moments ensue.
 
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3. One gigantic turning point in the story: Claire makes a choice.

After Claire’s revelations, she and Jamie travel for several days to get far from the witch hunters. Throughout this time he tells her all about his home, Lallybroch. She’s a little ambivalent about settling there. When they finally, after days of travel, reach a crest of a hill, Jamie asks her if she’s ready to go home. Still ambivalent about Lallybroch, she looks over the hill and sees the stone circle. Jamie’s brought her to the place that will allow her to go home, to her time, to her husband. Their farewell is heartbreaking, there are tears, maybe mine too, and Jamie tells her he will stay nearby until he knows she’s safe.

We see her approach the stone, and then we hear the noise that means she’s traveled, or maybe it’s the noise that means the episode is over, and the screen goes black. What a horrible place for it to end! But NO! There’s more. Jamie is asleep next to a campfire. It is now night. Claire is there. She wakes him. She tells him to “Take me home to Lallybroch.” Yeah, I was crying now.

CLAIRE HAS MADE A CHOICE! She had two choices: Frank and the 20th century, or Jamie and the 18th century. We have always known she loved Frank, all we heard about for MANY episodes was how much she wanted to get back to the stones and Frank. But she has a greater love now, and she can’t bring herself to leave him. Jamie. TURNING POINT—Claire has turned her back on her 20th century life, and has decided to embrace her 18th century life. This is a game changer, and it makes the rest of the story possible.

Slàinte mhath!












Thursday, April 16, 2015

COUNTDOWN CONTEST TO MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE: Day 4


NOW AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON!
WELCOME to my contest to celebrate the release of Miss Austen’s Vampire, the standalone prequel novella to The Vampire’s Passion!! THE BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON!! Enter for a chance to win $20 Amazon Gift Card or beautiful set of Jane Austen Note Cards!! 

 Each day from April 13th to April 16th, I will post a quote from one of Jane Austen’s novels. I chose these particular quotes because each one happens to be something one of my characters, Jane Austen or Gabriel Augustine, might say. You just have to correctly identify which book I took that quote from. All of the how-tos and rules can be found below. Good luck, and have fun playing! 


 ***DAILY QUOTE:     “To love is to burn, to be on fire.”


MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE:

When Jane Austen meets the handsome, intriguing Gabriel Augustine, she finds herself falling in love with this magnificent man even she could not have invented. Gabriel is entranced by the clever, celebrated author, but harbors a secret—one that could end the love affair just as it is beginning. As a newly turned vampire Gabriel finds himself struggling with new untamed appetites—appetites he knows could kill Jane, the only woman he has ever loved.

This standalone prequel to THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION gives Jane Austen a romantic, passionate last two years of her life—passion that real life never gave her.


Contest Rules:

Identify the Austen book that the Daily Quote has been taken from. Write your answer in the Comments section. You may leave one comment each day of the contest; in fact doing so will increase your chances of winning! On April 17th , I will randomly draw 2 winners, taken from all of the correct answers. One winner will be awarded a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and the second will receive a beautiful set of Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice Note Cards. Winners will be posted here on Friday, April 17th , and I will also Tweet it: @monicaknightley


 ENTER TO WIN $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR A BEAUTIFUL SET OF JANE AUSTEN NOTE CARDS!!





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

COUNTDOWN CONTEST TO MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE: Day 3 RELEASE DAY!!


NOW AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON!

WELCOME to my contest to celebrate the release of Miss Austen’s Vampire, the standalone prequel novella to The Vampire’s Passion!! RELEASE DAY IS TODAY!! Enter for a chance to win $20 Amazon Gift Card or beautiful set of Jane Austen Note Cards!! 

 Each day from April 13th to April 16th, I will post a quote from one of Jane Austen’s novels. I chose these particular quotes because each one happens to be something one of my characters, Jane Austen or Gabriel Augustine, might say. You just have to correctly identify which book I took that quote from. All of the how-tos and rules can be found below. Good luck, and have fun playing! 


 ***DAILY QUOTE:    I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”


MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE:

When Jane Austen meets the handsome, intriguing Gabriel Augustine, she finds herself falling in love with this magnificent man even she could not have invented. Gabriel is entranced by the clever, celebrated author, but harbors a secret—one that could end the love affair just as it is beginning. As a newly turned vampire Gabriel finds himself struggling with new untamed appetites—appetites he knows could kill Jane, the only woman he has ever loved.

This standalone prequel to THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION gives Jane Austen a romantic, passionate last two years of her life—passion that real life never gave her.


Contest Rules:

Identify the Austen book that the Daily Quote has been taken from. Write your answer in the Comments section. You may leave one comment each day of the contest; in fact doing so will increase your chances of winning! On April 17th , I will randomly draw 2 winners, taken from all of the correct answers. One winner will be awarded a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and the second will receive a beautiful set of Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice Note Cards. Winners will be posted here on Friday, April 17th, and I will also Tweet it: @monicaknightley


 ENTER TO WIN $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR A BEAUTIFUL SET OF JANE AUSTEN NOTE CARDS!!





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

COUNTDOWN CONTEST TO MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE: Day 2


AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER FROM AMAZON

WELCOME to my contest to celebrate the release of Miss Austen’s Vampire, the standalone prequel novella to The Vampire’s Passion!! RELEASE DAY IS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15th!! Enter for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card or a beautiful set of Jane Austen Note Cards!! 

 Each day from April 13th to April 16th, I will post a quote from one of Jane Austen’s novels. I chose these particular quotes because each one happens to be something one of my characters, Jane Austen or Gabriel Augustine, might say. You just have to correctly identify which book I took that quote from. All of the how-tos and rules can be found below. Good luck, and have fun playing! 


 ***DAILY QUOTE:   “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.”


MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE:

When Jane Austen meets the handsome, intriguing Gabriel Augustine, she finds herself falling in love with this magnificent man even she could not have invented. Gabriel is entranced by the clever, celebrated author, but harbors a secret—one that could end the love affair just as it is beginning. As a newly turned vampire Gabriel finds himself struggling with new untamed appetites—appetites he knows could kill Jane, the only woman he has ever loved.

This standalone prequel to THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION gives Jane Austen a romantic, passionate last two years of her life—passion that real life never gave her.


Contest Rules:

Identify the Austen book that the Daily Quote has been taken from. Write your answer in the Comments section. You may leave one comment each day of the contest; in fact doing so will increase your chances of winning! On  April 17th, I will randomly draw 2 winners, taken from all of the correct answers. One winner will be awarded a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and the second will receive a beautiful set of Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice Note Cards. Winners will be posted here on April 17th, and I will also Tweet it: @monicaknightley


 ENTER TO WIN $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR A BEAUTIFUL SET OF JANE AUSTEN NOTE CARDS!!





Monday, April 13, 2015

COUNTDOWN CONTEST to MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE: DAY 1



AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FROM AMAZON

WELCOME to my contest to celebrate the release of Miss Austen’s Vampire, the standalone prequel novella to The Vampire’s Passion!! RELEASE DAY IS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15th!! Enter for a chance to win $20 Amazon Gift Card or beautiful set of Jane Austen Note Cards!! 

 Each day from April 13th through April 16th  I will post a quote from one of Jane Austen’s novels. I chose these particular quotes because each one happens to be something one of my characters, Jane Austen or Gabriel Augustine, might say. You just have to correctly identify which book I took that quote from. All of the how-tos and rules can be found below. Good luck, and have fun playing! 


 ***DAILY QUOTE:  “I suppose there may be a hundred different ways of being in love.”


MISS AUSTEN'S VAMPIRE:

When Jane Austen meets the handsome, intriguing Gabriel Augustine, she finds herself falling in love with this magnificent man even she could not have invented. Gabriel is entranced by the clever, celebrated author, but harbors a secret—one that could end the love affair just as it is beginning. As a newly turned vampire Gabriel finds himself struggling with new untamed appetites—appetites he knows could kill Jane, the only woman he has ever loved.

This standalone prequel to THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION gives Jane Austen a romantic, passionate last two years of her life—passion that real life never gave her.


Contest Rules:

Identify the Austen book that the Daily Quote has been taken from. Write your answer in the Comments section. You may leave one comment each day of the contest; in fact doing so will increase your chances of winning! On Friday, April 17th, I will randomly draw 2 winners, taken from all of the correct answers. One winner will be awarded a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and the second will receive a beautiful set of Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice Note Cards. Winners will be posted here on April 17th , and I will also Tweet it: @monicaknightley


 ENTER TO WIN $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR A BEAUTIFUL SET OF JANE AUSTEN NOTE CARDS!!






Sunday, April 12, 2015

OUTLANDER: Season 1 Episode 10: By the Pricking of My Thumbs




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I think it’s safe to say that in this second half of the first season, Outlander has hit its stride. For this viewer/reader this episode has everything you could want: sex, intrigue, sword fights, duels, anger, murder, betrayal, lust, longing, and forgiveness. Pretty much everything in a storyteller’s bag of tricks.  Warning: this review is full of spoilers, so proceed at your own risk if you haven’t watched this episode yet.

In the opening scene Jamie gets his first hint—if he were paying attention—that Claire possesses knowledge that she cannot account for, when she tells him damning information about the Duke of Sandringham. He simply accepts her “trust me, but I can’t tell you how I know,” and doesn’t question her. Of course the knowledge helps Jamie prepare to ask for the Duke’s help in getting Randall’s charges against him dropped. But, there is a quid pro quo that the Duke asks for—one that will get Jamie in trouble with his uncle, Colum.

Meanwhile, we learn a lot more about Geillis Duncan in this episode. First, she is pregnant with Dougal MacKenzie’s baby. Second, she can murder a husband without batting an eye. Third, Jamie is smart enough to know that Claire should stay away from Geillis, that she’s dangerous, but Claire is lured to Geillis’ side by a junior high type prank. Lotte Verbeek is doing a wonderful job bringing the evil but fascinating Geillis to life. I look forward to watching her in coming episodes—and seasons.

But this episode belongs to Simon Callow who was nothing less than fabulous as the Duke of Sandringham! I love Callow in everything I’ve ever seen in him, so I knew he would do a great job as the Duke, but he truly brought the character to life. He was perfect. And so much fun to watch.

Simon Callow and his Duke have to share the honors in this episode with Graham McTavish and his Dougal, however. The scene where Dougal is reacting to the news that his wife—who has been sequestered away at their home far from Leoch—has died was stunning. “She deserved better than me.” I think I was actually mesmerized as he came apart. It was so very physical and heartwrenching. Bravo Mr. McTavish!

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Shortly after being so utterly heartbroken, he smiles a wry little smile at Geillis as he watches her husband die on the floor of the great hall in Castle Leoch during a celebration for the Duke. Later, Colum calls him on it and Dougal proclaims his love for Geillis, which gets him banished when Colum sends him to his own home. Angry at Jamie for his part in a duel against an enemy clan, Colum sends him along with Dougal. Claire’s and Jamie’s parting was sweet and sad as once again their love is becoming more and more evident. And of course that parting opens the way for…

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Geillis and Claire getting arrested for witchcraft. If only Claire had listened to Jamie and stayed away. If only Laoghaire hadn’t hated Claire so much that she tricked her into rushing to Geillis. If only…  That arrest sets up the next episode or two and paves the way for much of what is to come.

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I have nothing to rant about. I learned today that I love watching a good sword fight—even ones where there is no opponent. (Dougal) I also know that there will be plenty of opportunities for more sword fighting scenes in this series.

The next episode promises to be very revealing. It’s one of those parts of the book that I loved and hated in equal measures. I’m excited to see it!

Slàinte mhath!




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1 Episode 9: THE RECKONING


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OUTLANDER is back!! And that was a LONG wait, but oh, so worth it!

I think I’d like, first, to address the elephant in the room.

While I’ve been excited for months to see this particular episode, I’ve also been nervous about it. I knew that even if it were handled as sensitively as possible, the scene where Jamie ‘disciplines’ Claire for putting the group in mortal danger would upset many viewers. It certainly has upset many readers over the years, and I’ve had more than one discussion with other Outlander readers about that scene.

In my opinion the scene was handled very well. It is a difficult scene whether you’re reading it, or watching it. I’ve read this book multiple times and knew exactly what to expect but it didn’t make the apprehension any less. But what occurs is true to the historical times in which the story is set, and while our Twenty-First sensibilities and (rightfully held) beliefs make us want to yell at the TV or the book, it doesn’t change that this behavior is historically accurate. Claire put everyone in danger when she wandered off, thus allowing herself to be captured by the English soldiers. For Diana Gabaldon to have handled it any differently would have been an anachronism.
 
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Having said that, and more on it will be addressed in a moment, the rescue was fun to watch. Black Jack was dripping with evil. He asked Jamie how his “handiwork is looking,” referring of course to the horrendous scarring on Jamie’s back. Jamie’s simple answer, “Fine,” was perfect, as he refused to play into his hands. As Randall is poised to rape Claire, he says to her, “We have an audience,” then asks Jamie if he’d like to join them. Jamie doesn’t respond to these taunts as he manipulates the situation so that he can get Claire out of there. While this scene is in itself a great plot point, it also shows more of the evil that is Jonathan Randall.

Once Jamie and his merry men have rescued Claire from the clutches of the evil man, we see the vicious argument between Jamie and Claire, the one that leads us to the later spanking. After each hurls at the other every nasty word possible, there is a moment of clarity and we can see the intense pain in their faces. Neither can believe the words that were thrown at one another. They both tearfully apologize and forgive one another. It is at this point that I think their growing love for one another is revealed.

Poor Claire. At the tavern everyone talks right over her, no one listens to her words of gratitude for her rescue. She will be invisible until Jamie metes out the expected punishment. "She doesn’t understand what she may have cost us,” Murtagh tells Jamie, who agrees and answers, “Aye and she needs to.”
 
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Before Jamie does what he feels he must do he tells Claire, “Your actions put all the men in jeopardy.” No one more than Jamie, who is in much greater danger from Randall now that he knows where he is. Then, “If a man among us had put the rest of us in danger as you did they likely would have... been flogged, if not killed outright.” But as his wife, it is his duty to mete out the punishment. There’s that uncomfortable bit of historical accuracy.

An icy fall-out follows the punishment, with Jamie spending some nights on the floor. But after he brokers a peace between Colum and Dougal, following Colum’s anger about the men raising money for the Jacobites, Jamie takes their example back to his marriage. In a beautiful scene he tells Claire that just because something has always been done a certain way, eg. husband disciplining wife, it doesn’t mean it always must be that way. He gets down on his knees and pledges his fealty to her, and in a heart wrenching moment she reaches out to him, laying her hand on his heart, and forgives him. The looks on their faces right here!! Many viewers say it was lust, but the way they looked at one another wasn’t lust, it was love. It takes a strong love to be able to forgive what happened, and here we have the first signs of a profound love that carries through eight (and counting) books.

BUT, it is at this point in the book, and TV series, that in many ways Claire truly becomes one of them. Each time I read the book, it isn’t until the after all of this and their reuniting that I feel Claire really feels connected to Jamie and loyal to not only him but the people of the place and time. It’s definitely a turning point. A huge one.

Jamie and Claire will need that strong love to get them through all that still awaits them. This second half of the season promises to be quite a ride.

This week’s rant:  That scene by the river with Laoghaire isn’t in the book, and I wasn’t pleased by its addition. To show Jamie as tempted by her at this stage of his marriage is wrong, because he wouldn’t have been tempted. The look of lust and wanting on his face isn’t in line with his character nor where his character is by this time in the story. He is in love with Claire and committed to her. I wish they hadn’t felt the need to add this new scene.

Slàinte mhath!


Monday, February 9, 2015

COVER REVEAL TIME!!


It’s COVER REVEAL time! And BLURB time!

I’m very excited to share with you the beautiful cover for Miss Austen’s Vampire. My publisher, Soul Mate Publishing, has scheduled the prequel novella to The Vampire’s Passion to be released in April. This book has two of my favorite things: Jane Austen, and the smexy vampire Gabriel Augustine!! Swoon. So, without further ado, the cover and the blurb!

When Jane Austen meets the handsome, intriguing Gabriel Augustine, she finds herself falling in love with this magnificent man even she could not have invented. Gabriel is entranced by the clever, celebrated author, but harbors a secret—one that could end the love affair just as it is beginning. As a newly turned vampire Gabriel finds himself struggling with new untamed appetites—appetites he knows could kill Jane, the only woman he has ever loved.

This standalone prequel to THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION gives Jane Austen a romantic, passionate last two years of her life—passion that real life never gave her.

I’ll keep you updated as Release Day approaches—in the meantime I have some happy dances to enjoy!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Battling Writer's Block


 [Note: This post originally appeared on my alter ego's Young Adult blog. Since Writer's Block is an obstacle we all face from time to time I decided to share this with my friends here, as well.]
Every writer knows that panicky feeling when all they can do is stare at the blinking cursor and beg it to tell them what to type next. Nothing comes. Blank. No ideas. Check Twitter. Look at email. Go back to document and stare at cursor—yep, it’s still blinking.  Make a cup of tea. Look out the window and see if there’s anything untoward going on out there. Check the cursor again.


Writer’s Block. Whether you believe in it or not (there are some who don’t, more on that later) the above paragraph undoubtedly sounds familiar. I’m sure everyone has their ways of handling it, but these are a few I’ve found work fairly well.

·      Go take a walk. Leave the ipod at home—your mind needs to be allowed to wander. Don’t focus on the problem with your story; instead just try to be mindful of everything you see along the way, and let your heart pump lots of oxygen to your brain. If you have an ‘ah-ha’ moment that’s great. Work it through on your way back home and zip back to the computer and have at it.
·      Go someplace with people, whether it’s a grocery store, coffee shop, library, or whatever. Now pick one or two people and imagine a backstory for them. Let your imagination go wild. This infusion of creativity will spark the creativity you need in your story.
·      Work on a different project. I know, not everyone works on more than one WIP at a time, and there are many out there who will tell you to do so is breaking a Writing Cardinal Rule. But if you allow your mind to act creatively on something else it will also spark that creativity with the problem WIP.
·      If you aren’t working on another WIP, then open a new document and have a character write a letter to you, or another character, or your Great Aunt Joan. Give your character free rein—you’ll be surprised by what you discover. It may solve the block.
·      If all else fails go take a long, hot shower. Almost a sure thing for unblocking the dreaded Writer’s Block.
·      Leave it for the day. Have a good night’s sleep, and most likely it will have untangled itself by morning.
·      By the way, all of these ideas work because the brain is a miraculous creation. Even when it isn’t consciously working on something, it continues to work on it in the subconscious. Often times that subconscious level knows more than the conscious one.
·      Since starting this post I experienced one more thing that I must share! This wasn’t so much a case of Writer’s Block, but more one of not being sure HOW the current WIP was going to resolve itself. Last night I was reading Anne Lamott’s fabulous Bird by Bird. This book is classified as a ‘writing craft’ book, but it is so much more. It’s more like you are sitting and having tea with Ms. Lamott while she shares her wisdom with you. After reading the following passage, my answer came to me fully formed and perfect and I wanted to hit myself upside the head for not seeing it before. From Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: “Let your human beings follow the music they hear, and let it take them where it will. Then you may discover…that your characters had something in mind all along that was brighter and much more meaningful than what you wanted to impose on them.” YES!!! That was what my brain needed to hear to unlock my characters’ plan. I’m not exactly sure what it was in that passage that did the trick, but it worked! So, this last bullet point would be: Pick up a book on writing and read a bit—on any topic, not on Writer’s Block—and things may just fall into place.

Now I said at the top that not everyone believes in Writer’s Block. A couple of years ago I heard a panel of YA authors speak, and during the question-taking part of the presentation, an audience member asked how to battle Writer’s Block. Author Barry Lyga spoke up and said he wanted to take this question. He went on to say there is no such thing: if you get to a place where you’re stuck it is because you went the wrong way with your story. Go back to the last place things were working and go in a different direction. Ever since I heard this advice I’ve been a big believer in it. Here’s why. Let’s say you force the issue when you get stuck and write something just to write. This is going to invariably take you to yet another place you don’t want to be, you get stuck, you’re watching that dang cursor again, only this time it’s a lot worse because the problem is compounded. Yes, I will first try one or more of the above ideas, but if no viable answer comes to me, I follow Barry Lyga’s sage advice. I strongly suggest you try it.

Whether we call it Writer’s Block or not, we’ve all experienced that moment when we find ourselves staring at a blank screen and blinking cursor. These are but a few of the ways you might be able to battle this curse, and I hope you find at least one that works for you!

Happy Writing!